Townsquare Media Acquires Six In Massachusetts

Townsquare Media MSG Madison Square Garden Company Irving AzoffTownsquare Media will pay $3,535,000 for Gamma Broadcasting LLC and Berkshire Broadcasting’s stations in the Pittsfield MA market. Gamma will also first pay $20,000 to Northeast Airchecks LLC for 94.1 W231AK Great Barrington and then transfer that to Townsquare as part of their deal.

Original Report 7/7: Townsquare Media has agreed to purchase Gamma Broadcasting LLC and Berkshire Broadcasting’s six stations and two translators in the Pittsfield MA market for an undisclosed amount.

The sale will include Hot AC “Live 95.9” WBEC-FM Pittsfield, Classic Hits “Whoopee 100.1” WUPE-FM North Adams/1110 WUPE Pittsfield/103.3 W277CJ Pittsfield/94.1 W231AK Great Barrington, Full Service AC 860 WSBS Great Barrington, AC 1230 WNAW North Adams, and News/Talk 1420 WBEC Pittsfield.

This is the third attempted sale of the cluster in recent years. A deal to Greg Reed in 2013 failed to close as did $3.15 million deal to Galaxy Communications last year. The acquisition will pair the cluster with Townsquare’s cluster in the adjacent Albany NY market.

Townsquare Media, Inc. (NYSE: TSQ) (the “Company”) today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire 6 radio stations and two FM translators in and around the Pittsfield, MA market, from Gamma Broadcasting LLC and Berkshire Broadcasting Co., Inc. (the “Acquisition”).

“We are very excited to announce this transaction which will strengthen our footprint in the Northeast,” commented Townsquare Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven Price. “We look forward to partnering with the Pittsfield team to bring our resources, including our digital and live event products, to Berkshire County’s advertisers and audience, and further build upon their success in the market.”

In connection with the Acquisition, Townsquare is acquiring assets including 3 radio stations and 1 FM translator (WBEC-FM 95.9, WBEC(AM) 1420, WUPE(AM) 1110 and a FM translator broadcasting at 94.1) from Gamma Broadcasting LLC. Townsquare is also acquiring the capital stock of Berkshire Broadcasting Co., Inc., including 3 radio stations and 1 FM translator (WUPE-FM 100.1, WNAW(AM) 1230, WSBS(AM) 860 and a FM translator broadcasting at 103.3). Pro forma for the Acquisition, Townsquare will own 318 radio stations in 67 markets, maintaining its position as the third largest owner of radio stations in the United States. The Company expects the Acquisition to close in the third quarter of 2017, subject to closing conditions and customary regulatory approvals.

Kalil & Co., Inc represented the Seller in connection with the Acquisition.

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  1. Joseph_Gallant says

    Since Townsquare has a cluster in Albany, could this lead to many/most of the Pittsfield stations simply rebroadcasting some of the Albany stations?

    1. kent says

      Seems unlikely as Townsquare doesn’t do this anywhere else. I suppose it could consolidate some of the back office functions it has between both markets and have some Albany people voicetrack shows for the Pittsfield stations, but Townsquare’s past actions don’t seem to indicate it wants to use nearby stations as repeaters for large market operations.

    2. Eric Jon Magnuson says

      Off-hand, I can’t think of an example where an entire existing cluster was purchased by one buyer pretty much just to have its stations start new out-of-market simulcasts. There probably are some such cases, but it certainly wouldn’t be something that I would expect here.

      If Townsquare thinks that at least one of these signals might help improve the coverage of one of its existing stations within the A/S/T metro market, then I could see a simulcast. However, I don’t think that the metro itself goes into either Mass. or Vt.–so such a simulcast may just be a waste of a signal.

      Most of these stations are probably successful enough within this (again, probably unrated) area that Townsquare likely wouldn’t combine a lot of their operations with those of its existing A/S/T cluster.

  2. John Unrath says

    Pittsfield and Albany have nothing in common. The markets have nothing in common that would be helped by a simulcast. I know of hardly anybody who makes the specific drive to Albany to go shopping. Anybody like that heads to Springfield. In addition, the Albany stations come in sufficiently well such that a simulcast is not necessary. The main reason appears to be ‘because it’s there’, or maybe a move of one of the FM signals similar to what happened to the Pittsfield 105.5 move.

    1. Charles Everett says

      There is no valid reason to turn Pittsfield radio into an Albany relay. Townsquare’s Capital Region signals don’t reach the Berkshires. Plus Pittsfield is fully Red Sox Nation where Albany is a sea of Yankee fans.
      Good note about shopping — Walmart does have stores in Pittsfield and North Adams so people don’t have to pay the tolls on the Mass. Pike.

  3. Christian says

    The only thing Albany and Pittsfield have in common is being in the same TV market (and Albany’s NPR member’s stick being near Pittsfield, but it runs grandfathered power levels for its HAAT)

  4. John Unrath says

    And if it is still here, the Channel 10 (Albany) stick on Greylock used to pull higher ratings than the main Channel 10. BTW, no tolls on the Mass pike as long as you are only going to Springfield. The Pittsfield cable used to give you Red Sox, Yankees, and Mets.

    I assume the station purchase was either to move an FM from Pittsfield, or ‘because it was there’.

    1. Charles Everett says

      Wrong on all counts.
      First: WTEN was on VHF from Helderberg Mountain in analog days. You’re referring to WCDC, which was on UHF and has always been a straight relay.
      Second: Tolls on the Mass. Pike west of Springfield were restored in 2013.
      Third: NESN is available in Pittsfield. YES and SNY are not.

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